Sunday, April 12, 2015

Making A Change?

Spring is here.
The trees were in bud.
The grass already thick and verdant.
And, here and there,
Patches of wild flowers grew,
Primroses and irises,
Daffodils and red buds. 
                   - Wordsworth

Yes , Spring is here.
Life renews.

I am feeling better every day, almost like my old self.
Yes, I do have to change my life style - slow down, whether I like it or not.

Change is difficult.
We are animals of habits.
But change I must.

I was talking to one of my neighbors, telling him about my ordeal. He asked if my daughters are pressuring me to move into a Senior Living Place. I told him that they have not really pressured me, but I am thinking about it.

Now, I am certainly not the only one facing this "life-changing" decision. Many of my friends, who are my contemporaries, are encountering this same problem.
It is actually a universal problem. A lot of us are getting older, living longer.
But some of us are still well enough to want to have a Life.

My 96 year old friend, Jane, still lives by herself, in her big house. Her children did take her car keys away from her last year though. She is not happy. But she refuses to move.

MY problems is -
I am not ready to be in an assistant living facility, although I don't mind being in a smaller house, or a nice condo.
I do not wish to be with a group of elderly people sitting there waiting to die.
It is not the dying that I have a problem with. It is the living without a Life that bothers me.

But I do think that I am reasonable enough to know that I would make a Change when the time comes, which is not that far away.

Did I mention to you, that I don't make too many long range plans these days? 

But I do still buy green bananas - no more than a small bunch though.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Hong Kong

I left Hong Kong and immigrated to the U.S. in 1959.
My husband and I, with our three girls, made a trip back to Hong Kong in 1966, to visit the families - my husband's and mine. My parents and my in-laws were alive then. It was a good thing that we did make the trip then. My father passes away soon after. So did my mother-in-law. Later, the others did, too.
After that trip, it was twenty years before I revisited Hong Kong again.

Between 1986 and 2001, I, sometimes alone, sometimes with one or two of my family members, made some eight trips to Hong Kong, mainly to visit family and old friends. 
My trips were never lengthy, but always full of activities.
In 1987 and 1989, I went to see my mother who was disabled and living in an old folks' Home. 
On those trips, I also met up with my siblings, relatives, and old school mates.
Mother passed away in 1989. 
Of course, every time, I noticed vast changes in Hong Kong, more people, more buildings and roads, constant motions . . .  
There were ups and downs.    
I was impressed how Hong Kong was developing even after the Takeover in 1997 (the return of Hong Kong to China). 
Hong Kong people survied.
Hong Kong prospers.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Ten Drop List

It seemed that I lost several weeks of my life. I did not do anything but trying to get myself in better shape, with my doctor's help, of course.

I finally feel human again. Not perfect. But getting better. I don't have emphysema, neither do I have asthma. I am just allergic to a lot of "things", like dust, etc.

I have some belated New Year's resolution:

    My Ten Drop List -

    Drop the negative people around you.

    Drop caring about mistakes you have made.

    Drop the past - you can't change it.

    Drop your self-important image.

    Drop feeling sorry for yourself.

    Drop saying 'Yes' all the time.

    Drop trying to please everyone.

    Drop saying the right thing.

    Drop your limited beliefs.

    Drop worrying about the future - live your best.

I did find out that I have loving children, though they, sometimes, show me Tough Love. And I have many (I say Many) wonderful neighbors and friends.
Thank you for all your kindness and caring. You are definitely not on my Drop List.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

The Light At The End Of The Tunnel

Well, My Dear Friends and Family,

I finally feel human. Not Perfect, but getting better everyday.

It is true that nothing is more important than Good Health.

We do not cherish what we have until we lose it.

We all know this. But for the most part, they are mere words. 

We merrily and mindlessly go along, without paying any attention to this Pearl Of Wisdom.

I hope to be able to resume writing regularly soon.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

A Rough Journey

It has been a long while since I last wrote.

My "Winter Cold" turned into "Upper Respiratory Infection", then into "Acute Bronchitis."

Somewhere around that time, it seemed that my energy was totally drawn away from me. So did all of my brain matters. My spirit went off . . . I felt empty and not being able to write at all. By the fourth week, with little sleep, I was exhausted and had great trouble breathing.

The news of my good friend, Bev, having cancer did not help. While Bev was in the hospital, her husband died, I grieved for Bev. 
Bev's husband had cancer and was undergoing treatment at the time Bev got ill. Bev went into the hospital in Dallas. a couple of weeks later, Max had their son took him to the hospital to visit Bev. Bev and Max apparently had a long and sad meeting and said good-bye to each other. Max wanted to die at home. So their son took him back home. He passed away the next day. 
How Sad!

After three trips to the ER, several X-Rays, EKG, blood tests, breathing treatments, the ER doctors said that my heart was strong, I had enough oxygen in my lungs (I did not think so. I felt that I was drowning . . . ), and sent me home.  However, the MRI did show that I had scars of emphysema. 
I never smoked in my life. 
Though my parents were heavy smokers. And in the early days of my Real Estate business, I had heavy smokers in my office for many years. Those days, you did not ask the smokers to go outside the building to smoke. I guess I inhaled enough smoke in my life.

I did go to a specialist finally, and he prescribed breathing treatments for me.
It did ease my breathing problem. I am gradually on the mend. More tests and visits to the doctors to come yet.

My three lovely girls had been wonderful. They took turns coming into Ada and staying with me, day and night. Suffered with me while I struggled to breathe, particularly in the middle of the night. 
I gave them a Big Scare.

I had never being so ill in my whole life.

Yes, I still have some tells to tell yet. The book is not yet done.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Bone Soup

The cobweb in my brain seemed to be there forever. There was not the big enough broom to clear it.

On the other hand, it seemed that I reach a state of Nirvana. 

Maybe not Nirvana, but an emptiness.

A strange feeling.

I guess, that the tank (my brain) is empty and I needed refill.

I am trying to nourish my body, so that my mind can revive.

I understand there  is a new fad, Bone Soup.
Yes, soup made with bones!
Well, I thought that was old news. We always knew that Chicken Soup was good for everything. Right?
I, being China-bred, knew that all soups are Good.

I heard that people are ordering a cup of Bone Soup instead of a cup of coffee for breakfast.  
Now, that is News!

Now what they mean by Bone Soup is really Stock - A stock is the liquid obtained from the simmering for hours, together of meat, bones, with vegetables, seasonings, and water. This liquid, strained, and boiled down to concentrate its flavor is the basis for soups.

This meat stock can be made with bones only, but it has more character if made with both meat and bones, about half and half.

So, get out your stock pot, and brew a pot of Bone Soup.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Winter Colds

They say that we are in for a severe winter this year. 

As a matter of fact, many parts of the U.S. are already experiencing this extreme cold weather. Lots of snow. Merciless winds.

This morning, our temperature was down to eight degrees. Not counting the wind chill.
My furnace is working overtime.

When I first moved to Oklahoma, I thought that I was living in a mild climate. I was wrong, of course.

People here say that if you don't like the weather, "stick around for a little while and it will change." Temperature in this place where I am could change drastically within a short time - a drop of ten or fifteen degrees in a few hours sometimes. 
We have hot, hot summers and cold winters. Not much in between. Spring and autumn days are fairly rare. We do treasure them when we have a few mild and windless days.
You heard about the Oklahoma Winds, of course.

The flu season is here. some of my friends are suffering from the flu even after taking the flu shots. The Bugs are winning? Chin up. You will beat the Bugs!

I don't have the flu, but I am fighting a beastly Cold.
My brain does not work too well.

I remember that I had a really bad case of flu years ago when I was in England.
I was more than miserable for about three or four weeks, with fever and the works. I thought I was going to die. 
I was staying in a hostel at the time. Isolated in a room for many long days. My friend, Joyce, was my sole sometime visitor.
It took me many more weeks to truly recover.

I hope you stay well, my friends.
Drink a lot of fluids.
Eat a lot of vegetables and fruits.
I am doing that.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

In And Around San Miguel

San Miguel has many great schools. 

Instituto Habla Hispana is an excellent language school,

Instituto Allenda is a famous school that offers arts, writings, and language classes.

Bellas Arts is San Miguel's premier school for the arts.

Ingnacio Ramirez Center is a school that offers instructions in both dance and music.

We visited a number of them and we also visited some of the museums.

Bellas Arts is located in an convent, with pretty patios. It was open to the public.
Sitting at one of the patios, I wished that I could stay on and be a student at the school.
We did have the opportunity to spend the day there.

The Garden at the square was a popular place for visitors and locals alike. 

The group of us painted in front of the church facing the square. 

There were vendors selling their wares to tourists. The balloonman caught my eye with his many balloons. It was quite a sight.

We also visited the market. The many colorful stalls displaced various interesting food items and handicrafts. We painted at the market.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Poolside Art Lessons

Rob had arranged to have models posing for us at the Villa.

There were a number of models in colorful outfits.

I painted this little watercolor.

                                                my painting

We also had a feast by the pool.

It was great fun!

Monday, January 5, 2015

Villa Xichu

Villa Xichu sits on top of the hill.

Bev, her sister, and I stayed at La Casa De La Bugambilia, one of the many buildings at Villa Xichu. We had the whole building to ourselves! 
The view from the living room was awesome. 

And the bougainvilleas! A profusion of reds. pink, magenta, lake, scarlet, fuchsia . . . It takes your breath away.
The grounds were tended by a host of gardeners. They worked there all the time, it seemed.

We sometimes, painted at the Villa. Rob hired models who posed for us around the beautiful pool. 

                                       La Casa De La Bugambilia

                                             the colorful bathroom

                                              my bedrrom

                                    part of the grounds,  lots of trees

Saturday, January 3, 2015

San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato, Mexico

I enjoyed Rob Erdle's Painting Workshop in Portugal so much and I totally trusted his wise choices, so I signed up for his San Miguel de Allende workshop in 2003.

San Miguel de Allende, an artists' colony.

For the group of us, looking to make art, what more could you ask? 

To think that you could spend two weeks in this wonderful place, with its beautiful central plaza, the well maintained Jardin, and the pink stone 18th century church.

The Paroquia de San Miguel Arcangel, a pastel pink and orange church built in 1683, is the city's most recognizable landmark. The church can be seen from miles away. 
It was at its best at sunset, I thought.
I did a beautiful little watercolor of it. 
Wish I had kept it - too bad, I sold it years ago.

I loved the cobble-stone streets, the colorful buildings, the picturesque churches, the many specialty shops, the interesting market, and the food.

My friend, Bev, and her twin sister, and I shared a beautiful two-story Casita. We each had our own bedroom with attached bathroom. 
We had a large open-concept living-dining room and a large kitchen, where we merely make an occasional cup of coffee or tea.
We did not need to cook ourselves, since the meals were provided. 
Our Casita was one of the many buildings in the compound. 
The garden was well-designed and well-maintained. There was a building for all of us to eat our meals in. There was a large swimming pool. A host of maids, cooks, waiters, and gardeners waited on us. 
We were pampered.

Every day, we went some place to paint. 
Every evening, we gathered around the pool for critiques of our works by Rob.

We worked hard. 

We played hard.
                               the Paroquia

Friday, January 2, 2015

New Year's Resolutions

Happy New Year!

Are you one of those who make New Year's resolutions every year?

Do you make a list of what you would do for 2015?
You want to lose weight.
You want to save money.
You want to see the world.
you want to help fight hunger . . .

Did you make the same kind of resolutions last year and never did anything about your resolutions? Most of us fail to follow through what we intend to do.

They say that in order for you to succeed, 
      You have to be specific,
         You have to take small steps,
      You have to be realistic,
      And You have to have a plan and stick to it.

Is it not the way life is?
You make a plan.
You break it down into parts.
You have a time line.
You take it step by step, accomplish one step at a time within the time line.
Don't forget to write it down.

True, life has a way of interfering with our plans. But get up and keep going if you were knocked down.
Keep going.

I don't have any earth-shaking resolutions for 2015. 

I do want to shed some weight - five to six pounds.
I will do it in three months. Certainly, I should be able to lose two pounds a month. I would not eat sweet desserts for three months. It is doable. Don't you agree?

I will try to remember the word "moderation" - doing everything in moderation. 

We will see how this would affect my life.

I wish you and yours all the happiness in 2015.